Are you experiencing symptoms of a sluggish thyroid, like fatigue, but medical interventions aren’t helping? Looking at the thyroid in isolation doesn’t always provide an answer in these kinds of cases. Here’s what else could be causing these symptoms and how to address them.
1:15 - Thyroid or Adrenals?
5:10 - OAT (Ovarian, Adrenal, Thyroid) axis
7:00 - Labs: Thyroid hormones, Binding globulin, and TSH
8:45 - Reverse T3 and relation to Adrenals
9:50 - What to do if still not feeling good on thyroid meds
12:00 - How to reduce stress to improve adrenals
13:50 - Different types of thyroid medications
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Are your energy levels low, you feel like you're dragging yourself throughout the day. This is a very common sign that something might be wrong with your thyroid. But what happens when you visit your doctor and after many tests, there's nothing wrong with your thyroid. This is a common complaint among people with adrenal fatigue. And we like to discuss this issue with you today. This is a Dr. Lam show where we talk about integrative medicine and share it with you to empower you to take control of your health. I'm Dr. Carrie Lam. And I want to encourage you to use holistic strategies combined with conventional medicine to find better health.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
And I'm Dr. Jeremy Lam. I've spent years helping alleviate chronic disease by also helping to use alternative and holistic strategies as well as conventional medicine. And so we're here to empower you to take control of your health and your life. If you enjoy the Dr. Lam show, please like it and share it with your friends. We want to help as many people as possible to enjoy better adrenal health through gentle and natural strategies. So first of all, let's clear up a common question that a lot of people have, thyroid or adrenals, which could be causing or low energy levels? Some people might have a thyroid issue, and others adrenal issues, or it can be both. So it's quite confusing and is one of the most challenging aspects that we deal in our work. Because most people don't understand the compartmentalized approach to your health. When you have a thyroid issue, you're referring to an endocrinologist and when you have an adrenal issue, you're referred to another specialist. But it's important to take a look at your whole body, and how the each organ systems correlate with each other and how it can connect with each other. So Dr. Carrie, how are the thyroid and adrenals connected?Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
As you said, there's a lot of similarities in the symptoms when someone has thyroid issues as well as adrenal issues. Symptoms range from fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, cannot lose the weight which may be due to hormonal imbalance. There are many similarities. One way to confirm that is by doing labs, but it may not be enough. So if you were to go to your doctor with fatigue, some of the tests that they would run are thyroid panel, which can be either positive, or normal, then measure your TSH, Free T3, FreeDr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
We see in many patients, that they have to 4 , maybe an anemia panel, to make sure you're normal. And hat might come back is that ou either have subclinical hy othyroid, meaning you have low r thyroid function, or Hashim to's, when your antibodies ar elevated. Then they co clude that hypothyroidism is c using your fatigue, However, hey didn't really check f you have underlying adrenal roblems in addition. Someo e can have thyroid problems, as well as underlying adrenal issues, If you don't address i, then you start taking thyroid edication, which at first wi l make you feel good, with m re energy, stimulating the meta olism. But after a few months you might start to get a ittle more tired, again, l ke before, because you did not ddress the root cause like he adrenal issue. So it's i portant to check both the thyr id and the adrenals. What oth r parts of your body could be causing fatigue,Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
It's very important to ask why are the keep increasing their thyroid medication dosing, because it's thyroid and adrenals. so closely related, it's because when your like a bandaid. Each time you take a higher dose, hoping that body undergoes chronic stress, it begins to shut down some of it would solve the problem, but oftentimes it does not. We see the processes to conserve energy. So this production of T3 patients taking high doses and yet feel tired with fatigue and and T4, the thyroid hormone and the prehormone, your body brain fog, because they've not addressed the underlying problem. The adrenals and thyroid is connected via the ovarian adrenal thyroid axis. The HPA axis, which is hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis, helps your body deal with stress. This is similar to the ovarian adrenal produces four times as much T4 than T3. The latter is four thyroid axis, where if one of the organ systems is not functioning properly, then that's going to affect the other organ systems. So if the adrenals are not working, then it will affect your thyroid and the ovarian system. So people with thyroid issues can have their other organs affected as well, creating imbalances. Imagine a stool with three legs, and if one leg is not well balanced, then it's almost impossible to sit very comfortably because it's not balanced. Either your adrenals, or your thyroid, are causing the problems, or could it be both. If your energy's low for a long time, and nothing is helping, see your doctor to ensure the test to find what's causing you low energy levels. If the lab times more powerful and cause metabolism and only T3 receptors are clear then get the thyroi and adrenals checked. We're her at the Dr. Lam show is to hel you try to figure that out are present in the body. So it's interesting that many conventional medications, like Synthroid is T4 which is then converted to T3 but is not actually the active form. When the body is stressed, it doesn't produce more T3 and the T4 is trying to conserve energy rather than burn the energy. So your body also has thyroid binding globulin that binds the thyroid hormones making it unavailable. This leads to low levels of T4 and T3, and this is reflected in the lab tests, even when they are actually normal and just the level of the thyroid binding globulin is elevated. Also we like to check reverse T3 levels which acts like a brake for T3 and opposes T3 function. And so cortisol inhibits the conversion from T4 to T3 and instead it wants to make reverse T3 to slow your body down. So that's another lab that can be used in order to check why your body is slowing down and not converting to T3. It's important to order the right labs and find if stress affects your thyroid.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
If you want assistance with interpreting these labs or to find if you need specialized thyroid labs, give our team a call at 714-709-8000 to get support for your thyroid and adrenals.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Make sure you like and subscribe to our YouTube channel also. So Dr. Jeremy, what if someone comes in saying that they're on thyroid medication but they don't feel good on it. They're still feeling the fatigue, the weight gain or hair loss?Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
I would make sure that the thyroid is optimized with T3. T4, reverse T3 and also look at the antibodies. If everything is normal then the next step would be to check the adrenals, by doing saliva cortisol test. That way we can see the adrenal function and find the stage of adrenal fatigue. Oftentimes, we can help with the thyroid medication, if we address the underlying problem with the adrenals. So, as Dr Carrie mentioned before, the thyroid medication works as bandaid, when you actually have adrenal fatigue. It's telling your thyroid to slow down. When we help with the adrenals, then we can sometimes lower the thyroid medication. Then if you feel better, due to low dose of thyroid medication, it means that it's helping the stress response and your adrenals to handle the situation.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Yeah, many doctors want to just optimize the numbers on the T3 and T4 by giving thyroid medication, rather than listening to the body saying, that it's starting to get palpitations, or feel anxious and jittery. Those are signs that you might be having too much thyroid hormones and a sign that you need to start pulling back and look at other causes. So how does someone reduce stress in terms of the adrenals, Dr. Jeremy?Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Someone can reduce stress by changing their lifestyle like knowing when to say no, taking frequent breaks, meditating, adrenal breathing, exercises, relieve stress, improving diet eating organic food etc. Regarding supplementation, we go through this quite in depth, but in general, there are many supplements that can help with adrenal fatigue. Please be careful when you're approaching this, because many hormones and other factors are responsible especially with thyroid and adrenal issues. So it's not a one size fits all approach. It also depends on where you are at your recovery stage. So that's why it's important to work with a practitioner, who knows what your body's experiencing, and make sure that you're getting your levels checked at the right time. They can also help with the right supplementation to not only support your thyroid, but also your adrenals or support both and making sure that, the supplementation is at the right dose.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Sometimes people don't know their choices, even for thyroid medication. Shall we go through some of that? So one of the most well known are is Synthroid or levothyroxine, which is T4, the non active form of the hormone. The other conventional medication that if you go to an endocrinologist, they might give you Liothyronine which is T3, the brand name Cytomel. So usually a combination between T4 and T3 to make sure both are being adequately dosed. And there are natural options as well Dr Jeremy?Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
You can take glandulars as one option but oftentimes, there's more natural options like desiccated thyroid, nature, thyroid, or MV thyroid. All are a combination of T4 and T3. Oftentimes, if you have Hashimoto's or antibodies then taking these might not be the right step. We work with compounded pharmacists and compounding pharmacies where you can get compounded medication to get your levels optimized. But again, this is all person to person based, and is not a one size fit all. Even though we're talking about thyroid, you have to also support your adrenal health to get your thyroid back on track.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
So make sure you're getting the right kind of help to alleviate your fatigue, and weight gain. And if you are having a thyroid problem, see the doctor for the regular blood work. If you want to change your medication or supplementation, make sure you do it with the practitioners guidance. Also, for any help with your thyroid or adrenals give our office a call 714-709-8000 for a free initial phone call. You can find if you're right fit for our program because we help people with thyroid issues all the time. Additionally, we help with adrenal issues, hormone balancing, looking at the whole body. We ensure that you're getting a good neuro endo metabolic stress response by looking at your whole system. If you've enjoyed the show on thyroid, we ask that you to subscribe, like, and share it as it will help other people find this to get help and we reach a wider audience. Thank you for watching the Dr. Lam show. We're here to empower you to take control of your health.Unknown:
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